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What's the BUZZ?

Posted Sep 14 2009 10:11pm

While all eyes are on economic recovery, health reform, and a year-end push for growth, it’s important to step back and look at what’s influencing market trends. This is particularly timely, as companies enter planning and budget season. Following looks at ten trends creating buzz in health care, technology and strategy circles.

Medical Home is an approach to providing comprehensive primary care with a “whole person” orientation. A personal physician is responsible for coordinating a patient’s healthcare needs across all components of the patient’s healthcare community with a vision of care for all stages of life, acute and chronic, wellness and prevention, and end-of-life.

Accountable Care Organizations are a group of providers held responsible for quality and cost of health care for a population of beneficiaries. An ACO would be a combination of one or more hospitals, primary care physicians and specialists, accountable for total spending and quality of care for patients served.

Socialnomics is the ability of social media to generate exponential returns for individuals and businesses. For business the payoff is leads, sales, brand awareness, customer service. For people, the returns can be social and professional connections, receiving incoming product and service information from friends, and engaging in two-way dialogues with companies.

Transparency is now the primary method consumers make decisions about whether they will buy from you or from someone else…reviewing is the new advertising. No direct-to-consumer business is immune to the transparency of peer-to-peer reviews. In a choice-overload marketplace, this is the most trusted method for buyers to research, compare and scrutinize a purchase based on opinions and recommendations (good and bad) about quality, price, convenience and customer service.

Cloud computing is the latest super-hyped concept in information technology referring to a style of computing in which IT resources are provided as a hosted service over the Internet. Users do not have to have expertise in or control over the technology infrastructure that lives in the "clouds" that supports them. A cloud service has three distinct characteristics: it is sold on demand, it is elastic (users can have as much or as little of a service as they want), and it’s fully managed by the provider.

Mobile technology is a combination of hardware, operating systems, networking and software that support the efficient, wireless transfer of and access to information. From smart phone Web applications to SMS texting to mobile marketing and commerce trends, penetration of information on-the-go is expected to explode. The health sector is expected to be a leader in integrating mobile technology into its processes, both administrative and, clinical management and monitoring.

Crowdsourcing is gathering and using data from a wide array of sources to solve problems or create meaningful, actionable information. It calls on (or challenges) a large, yet targeted group of people to perform a task such as develop a new technology, user-centered Web design, algorithm solutions, or analyze large amounts of data. It leverages mass collaboration or the “wisdom of crowds” to achieve business or social action objectives.

Personal branding is the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands. As compared to traditional self-improvement trends, personal branding suggests that success comes from self-packaging. It creates an asset that pertains to the individual, from appearance to knowledge. Ultimately the objective is to establish an indelible impression that is uniquely distinguishable.

Reverse Mentoring is the coaching of senior staff by younger people in the organization in areas such as information technology, social networking and mobile communications. By flipping the traditional mentoring concept to start sharing knowledge upward, there’s a shift in organizational power dynamics, recognizing what a younger, more tech-savvy generation of workers have to offer. And, it’s an effective tool for preventing “fogeyism”, the adherence to old-fashioned ideas and intolerance of change.

Minipreneurs represent the vast army of control-driven, innovative individuals turning to self-employment, small business development and entrepreneurship. With job losses high and traditional job options limited, many will turn to “being your own boss” business opportunities – personal, Web and micro ventures, freelancers, franchises, eBay traders and advertising-sponsored bloggers. Gen Y will be more entrepreneurial than past generations and, baby boomers will stay in the workforce…especially given the recent blow delivered to retirement savings.


Plus, for everyone trying to stay current with the national health reform debate, here’s a quick glossary to new terms and lingo…

Bending the Curve Slowing the unsustainable growth rate of healthcare spending.

Blue Dogs Coalition of moderate/conservative Democrats with centrist economic positions.

Comparative Effectiveness Studies to assess value of treatments, medications, and devices.

Co-op Private, nonprofit health organizations to compete with private insurance companies.

Crowd Out Reduction in private insurance caused by expansion of taxpayer coverage.

Exchange Government-organized market for consumers to shop among competing plans.

Individual Mandate Requiring people to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.

Medically Disenfranchised Population who have inadequate access to primary care.

Pay or Play Requiring employers to provide health insurance or pay a penalty.

Public Option Government-run health plan to compete with private insurers.

Rationing Allocation of scarce medical services to select patients.

Reconciliation Senate procedure to enact changes by simple majority.

Socialized Medicine Government employs providers, owns/operates health care facilities.

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